Kaia had spent her whole life under a thatched roof in a town barely worthy of being called such. Her community was more a collection of homes surrounded by endless fields of corn and barley. Most towns had electricity and a few motor carriages darting about the streets. Old Walcer was decades away from such extravagance.
Every evening just before slumber, she would gaze out her window and sigh. The stars above glittered and shined on a world so full of life and opportunity. She had the regular opportunity to push chickens out of the house. Certainly there must be more out there, more to see, more to do, more to experience than her tiny town.
“Perhaps tomorrow,” she would say before closing her eyes and dreaming of the wonders she hoped would fill her real life.
For years her ritual was simply that, a mantra of hope without realization. She had given nearly given up on any one tomorrow being more special than the rest.
An unforgettable tomorrow began like so many others, with a simple horse leading a cart carrying a busker yelling of wares both rare and essential. She had heard the speech before, all peddlers used the same lines, but meeting someone new was the rarest and most essential thing in the world. As such she spoke with each merchant that ventured into town.
The cart was plain and the horse old. The merchant held her hair tied above her head and looked as weathered as the gloves covering her hands, but the road and work had not stolen her smile. Ear to ear, the merchant grinned as she met a new face.
“Good morn’, young miss,” the merchant started, “I see a look of wonder about you. Brain bigger than your town, I see.” The merchant hoped off the cart, walked to the back and rummaged through her wares. Only Kaia had approached the cart. The other villagers about at this hour took great effort to avoid the merchant.
“Oh yes, I dare say this is the perfect item for you,” the merchant said. She stepped around the cart and smiled at Kaia.
“I present to you a way out,” the merchant said.
“A window frame?” Kaia said as she looked over the square wood frame ornately carved with flowers and symbols she did not recognize. At what she assumed to be the top of the frame an eye was carved into the deep red of the sun bathed cherry wood.
“Simple enough, but looks can be deceiving as you understand. This frame is from wood gathered at the foot of a volcano, blessed by a priest of the mightiest gods of the region and carved with the runes of a civilization lost to history, but not to us. The eye is a window to the soul, so what do you think an eye to a window reveals? Through this window you see everything your heart desires. If you take this, the world is but a glance away,” the merchant’s pacing was hypnotizing, she moved with a grace and poise that made her enchanting to listen to and watch as she made her pitch.
Kaia pondered the frame and the merchant and if she should sacrifice her saved coins on something so frivolous.
“How much do you want for it?” Kaia asked with noticeable hesitation.
“For you, a dreamer, a seeker of wonder, this is yours with no charge,” the merchant said.
Kaia’s smile matched the merchant’s.
“Go young one,” the merchant said.
Kaia ran home, clutching the window frame and dreaming of what spectacle awaited her.
She entered her house, scooted a chicken outside with her foot and raced up to her bedroom. The frame was placed against a wall and she stared into the eye waiting for something to happen. And waited. And waited.
“Silver tongued merchant. At least she didn’t charge,” she had given up hope of anything fantastical happening. She turned to leave her room and head back outside.
The room rattled as she approached the door. She gasped and turned to see the window frame glowing an emerald green. The space inside the frame was moving. Kaia saw the world she so desperately wanted to be part of. She walked to the window frame and stared, wide eyed, at the scene.
I wonder she thought, can I touch it?
Kaia put her hand through the frame.
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